If you’re thinking of joining the world of kombucha home brewers, welcome to the club! I’ve found brewing kombucha to be an easy process, and it’s not very time consuming at all (which is great, because I don’t have much time to spare these days).
As someone who drinks a LOT of kombucha, I am definitely saving money by making my own, too! (I still buy kombucha from time to time, but making batches at home has cut down on those purchases in a big way.) Plus, learning more about the process with each batch and experimenting with flavors and the overall approach has been really fun!
(Disclaimer: I’m by no means an expert at this, but I really enjoy it and am learning more and more with each batch I brew. I’ve had lots of folks ask about my process, so these posts are meant to be a peek into that.)
This post is a list of supplies I use to make my kombucha at home. It’s pretty short (told you it was easy!), and I’m sure there are many alternative choices you could make, but this works for me!:
- Kombucha Brewing Jar: I have really loved this jar that’s specifically made for brewing kombucha at home. After starting my kombucha brewing journey using a large ceramic beverage dispenser and jerry-rigging a breathable lid using paper towels and rubber bands, upgrading to this jar was a good decision. It’s sleek and doesn’t take up much counter space, which is also a huge plus.
- Juicer: This is another piece of equipment that I initially cut corners with. I tried pureeing produce in the blender to add to my kombucha, but it just wasn’t cutting it. Luckily, the German grocery store Lidl opened a couple of locations here in Winston-Salem recently, and they sell good, CHEAP juicers (less than $30!). You can always buy juice to add to your kombucha, of course, but then you’re 1) not saving much money and 2) not able to play around with the flavors as much, which is half the fun of home brewing!
- Cheesecloth: I just started incorporating cheesecloth into my kombucha-making process, and it’s a GAME CHANGER. I use it to strain the juice before adding it to my fermented tea, and it makes for a better end product.
- pH Test Strips: I like having these on hand to check the pH level of each batch of my kombucha. These pH test strips are super inexpensive and the pack includes tons of test strips!
- Glass Bottles: I just saved glass bottles from store-bought kombucha and removed the labels to use for my homemade brew. You can also buy glass bottles online if that’s easier for you, though! (I love that these come with a cleaning brush, although I just run mine through the dishwasher which also works fine.) Oh, and to get the labels off if you use store-bought kombucha bottles, I used the white vinegar tip mentioned here. Once I’d soaked the bottles for a while, I found it helpful to use a razor blade to cleanly scrape off the labels. It was a little time consuming, but I’m kind of OCD about that stuff — and now I have beautiful label-free bottles! 🙂
- Funnel: You probably have one of these on hand in your kitchen already, but it’s helpful when adding your juice to your kombucha.
Okay, those are the main pieces of equipment you need. Now on to the ingredients!:
- SCOBY: This is, of course, essential (really the heart of your kombucha). I got my SCOBY from a friend, but you can grow your own using store-bought kombucha if you don’t know of someone near by who can hook you up. (Winston folks: My SCOBY seems pretty prolific so far, so let me know if you’d like some to start brewing your own kombucha! I’m happy to share!) They are SO weird and strange looking, but really cool, too!
- Tea: My favorite way to make kombucha is to make a 50/50 mixture of green and black tea. I also prefer using decaf tea, because that way I can drink kombucha any time of day without worrying about it keeping me awake. I buy the decaf green tea and the decaf Irish Breakfast tea bags from Trader Joe’s. You definitely don’t want to get flavored teas, though, as those can flavor your SCOBY.
- White Sugar: You can’t cut corners here. You can’t use a sugar substitute, or agave, or brown sugar. Your SCOBY needs white sugar to properly ferment the kombucha, so be sure to get that part right. I love Trader Joe’s organic white sugar.
That’s about it, aside from the pot you prepare your tea in on the stove and whatever ingredients you’d like to include in your flavoring (which can differ from batch to batch, of course!).